Given Amy Poehler’s blockbuster success in the entertainment industry and elsewhere, you can safely assume she can afford a babysitter — or really, a whole army of babysitters, if she so chose.
I have these meetings with really powerful men and they ask me all the time, “Where are your kids? Are your kids here?” … It’s such a weird question. Never in a million years do I ask guys where their kids are. It would be comparable to me going to a guy, “Do you feel like you see your kids enough?”
Unfortunately, Poehler is far from the only mom to encounter strange, inappropriately personal or downright sexist questions at work. I asked women on Facebook to share their experiences with uncomfortable, kid-related queries on the job, and within minutes, the answers starting rolling in. Check them out below and then tell us — what questions from bosses, colleagues, and clients have rubbed you the wrong way?
First comes love, then comes marriage …
“I was told by a male boss, ‘I noticed you had a few doctor visits lately. I know you just got married so are you planning anything?'” — Estelle Erasmus, northern N.J.
Not horsing around
“When I was pregnant, a much older male partner at my firm asked me when I was ‘foaling.'” — Mandy Hitchcock, Washington D.C.
“I had an HR manager look me in the eye when I met with her to ask about maternity leave: ‘So, were you planning this?’ And we were not friendly. I had met her maybe twice.” — Adriane Lilly, Atlanta
“Honey, you have no idea … “
“I was also asked, by a young coworker, once I announced to my boss that I was pregnant, if the pregnancy had been planned. I was 36 and had dealt with months of assorted infertility treatments. I wanted to say ‘Honey, you have no idea how much planning went into this,’ but didn’t need to make my IVF her business. I just said yes.” — Cheryl Alkon, Natick, Mass.
The sibling inquisition
“‘Are you having more?’ Which is impossible to answer correctly because if you are, then they will assume you’re going to be ‘out of commission’ and if you’re not, then you must not like being a parent or you’re depriving your child of a sibling.” — Susan Hodges, Los Angeles
“I was asked if I was going to kick our dogs out of bed; the person was assuming that we would co-sleep (which we weren’t going to do, but ended up doing.)” — Molly Sutton Kiefer, Red Wing, Minn.
“I was asked as part of a formal review why my husband didn’t stay home with our kids as much as I did when they were sick. How they thought they had the numbers on that to tally up who had done what is beyond me. I was being reprimanded for the number of sick days I had taken over the course of a year — and I had not yet used up all that I had been allotted per my position benefits.” — Rachel Ellis, Decatur, Ga.
“I act like it doesn’t hurt”
“‘Are those kids yours?’ (looking at photos of my transracially adopted daughters) … Sometimes I launch into something like, ‘Well, I think so; I nurse them when they’re sick and I feed and clothe them.’ Other times I just brush it off and act like it doesn’t hurt. Depends who’s asking — if they seem callous or just purely ignorant.” — Anonymous, Chicago, Ill.
It’s not all about the kids …
“I’ve gotten ‘You must have become a teacher so your schedule would match your kids’, right?’ Um, no. I became a teacher because it was my dream since I was 8 years old, and the fulfillment of my personal goals. I did not plan my dreams around my non-existent children.” — Lily Read, Watertown, Mass.
… But mothering doesn’t just stop either.
“Today my most uncomfortable questions are along the lines of: ‘Well, why do you care so much about your kids? I mean they’re grown now and on their own. Right?’ Of course they are, but that doesn’t mean I do not remain fully engaged as their mother.” — Susan Dente Ross, Moscow, Idaho